Mercedes-Benz Continues G-Class Production through 2015
While automakers are currently trying to find just about any way possible to come up with fresh, new products to top the competition, Mercedes-Benz recently signed an agreement that would prolong the life of one of its models that is more than 30 years old, the GelÃ¤ndewagen (a.k.a. the G-Wagen or the G-Class). Magna Steyr, the contracted company that produces the G-Class for Mercedes-Benz, announced that the two companies signed a contract that would keep the rugged G-Class in production until 2015. Helping to mark the 30th anniversary of the civilian-minded G-Class, Mercedes-Benz will also introduce a special edition model called the EDITION30.
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class first entered production in the 1970s to serve as a military vehicle with civilian models being offered in 1979, although the G-Class did not go on sale in the United States until 2002. Magna Steyr first began hand assembling the G-Class model in 1972 at its facility in Graz, Austria and has continued doing so ever since with more than 200,000 units produced in total. Throughout the world, the G-Class is available as a five-door wagon, a three-door wagon or a two-door, open-top SUV. The five-door wagon is the only available model for purchase in the U.S. where it is currently offered in two models: the base G550 SUV and the supercharged G55 AMG.
Marking the anniversary of the G-Class, Mercedes-Benz will offer a pair of limited edition G-Class models, the EDITION30 and the EDITION30.PUR packages. It's not yet clear whether Mercedes will offer either model in the U.S., but the special edition G-Class models take both aspects of the wagon's design to new extremes. With extreme luxury in mind, the G-Class EDITION30 focuses more on exterior styling and interior comfort with an exclusive Platinum Black paint job, unique alloy wheels and an interior that is trimmed with real poplar wood. With rugged off-road capabilities in mind, the G-Class EDITION30.PUR is more bare bones focusing on easy use and easier maintenance. In addition to rugged drivetrain upgrades, the EDITION30.PUR package features an interior that is easy to clean up after a long day of driving through the mud. Like the Jeep Wrangler, this rugged package features unique seats upholstered with a heavy duty fabric, spray-protected interior controls and drainage holes built into the floorboards.
Like the H1, the G-Class has a unique, boxy look with a sole purpose of providing a rugged and capable off-road vehicle. Although the G-Class' design has remained relatively the same over throughout its existence, the interior and powertrain are state of the art and offer every convenience and amenity that is expected from a Mercedes-Benz vehicle. Inside, the G-Class provides as much leather and wood trim as any other Mercedes model and gets the latest tech goodies such as the COMAND system, but it's the performance (both on- and off-road) that makes the G-Class a versatile vehicle. With a curb weight of 5,510 pounds, the G550 SUV can accelerate from 0-60 in six seconds flat, while the souped-up G55 AMG gets up to the same speed in a scant 5.4 seconds with both models using a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission. Off-road performance is even more impressive with a trio of fully locking differentials to allow the G-Class to go just about anywhere.
As evident by the 1,200 units produced for the Austrian army, it would appear the G-Class is just as capable now as it was back in 1972 signifying that the rugged SUV could probably last beyond 2015.